2024 News

January 9, 2024


Winners of the 2023 JRA Awards announced

On Jan. 9, Equinox was announced as a double winner for the JRA Awards for 2023. Equinox won both the Japan Racing Association's Horse of the Year for 2023 and Best Older Colt or Horse award. In the voting for the Horse of the Year award, Equinox received 293 votes out of 295.

The Horse of the Year title is the highest honor given to JRA-registered race horses and is selected by the Horse of the Year Selection Committee represented by journalists of various dailies and magazines.

Note: All information, including ages and race performances, are as of December 31, 2023, unless otherwise indicated.


Horse of the Year and Best Older Colt or Horse:

Equinox (JPN)

4-Year-Old, Brown, Colt
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Kitasan Black
Chateau Blanche (King Halo)
Owner Silk Racing Co. Ltd.
Trainer Tetsuya Kimura
Jockey Christophe Lemaire
Breeder Northern Farm
Wins / Starts in 2023 4 / 4
(Overseas 1/1)
Earnings in 2023 1,408,844,100 Yen
(Overseas 458,890,100 Yen)
Principal Wins in 2023 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)
Takarazuka Kinen (G1)
Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1)
Japan Cup (G1)

Takarazuka Kinen (G1 - English) play
Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1 - English) play
Japan Cup (G1 - English) play

Comments from the horse's connections

Owner: Masashi Yonemoto, CEO of Silk Racing Co. Ltd.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the honor of being recognized with the Horse of the Year award. Equinox’s two races in the autumn – the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and his final run the Japan Cup – were extremely impressive. In these, after enduring the intense summer heat, he exhibited further maturity and gave performances that could be only be called the picture of perfection. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude in recognizing all those involved with Equinox’s care, all those at the stable and the farms, and all the fans who gave us their warm support. With the debut of his progeny, I think we can anticipate, at the earliest in 2027, what Equinox himself was unable to attain -- victory in the classics.”

Trainer: Tetsuya Kimura
“I consider it a great honor for Equinox, a horse in my care, to be recognized as the Horse of the Year. In 2023, he was able to win on his first trip overseas and in his race in Kansai. Later in the year, in his two races in the fall, I believe his world-class performances were adequate in convincing his fans around the world that he was No. 1. From this year, he will, as stallion, shoulder the expectations of his fans. And, I believe that he will meet those expectations and that his fans can eagerly look forward to that day. I ask for your continued support of JRA racing.”

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
“In 2023, Equinox gave us top-level, spectacular performances, for a perfect record of four wins from four races. In Dubai, he showed the world his ability and held his No. 1 spot in the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings. And, he demonstrated his true strength in the Takarazuka Kinen, the Tenno Sho (Autumn), and in the Japan Cup. He is a horse I will never forget. And I think his performances are something that none of his fans will ever forget, and no one in any way involved with him will ever forget.”


Best Two-Year-Old Colt:

Jantar Mantar (JPN)

2-Year-Old, Dark Bay, Colt
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Palace Malice
India Mantuana (Wilburn)
Owner Shadai Race Horse Co. Ltd.
Trainer Tomokazu Takano
Jockey Yuga Kawada
Breeder Shadai Farm
Wins / Starts in 2023 3 / 3
Earnings in 2023 116,810,000 Yen
Principal Wins in 2023 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1 - English) play

Best Two-Year-Old Filly:

Ascoli Piceno (JPN)

2-Year-Old, Dark Bay, Filly
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Daiwa Major
Ascolti (Danehill Dancer)
Owner Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.
Trainer Yoichi Kuroiwa
Jockey Hiroshi Kitamura
Breeder Northern Farm
Wins / Starts in 2023 3 / 3
Earnings in 2023 104,936,000 Yen
Principal Wins in 2023 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1)

Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1 - English) play

Best Three-Year-Old Colt:

Tastiera (JPN)

3-Year-Old, Bay, Colt
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Satono Crown
Partitura (Manhattan Cafe)
Owner Carrot Farm Co. Ltd.
Trainer Noriyuki Hori
Jockey Damian Lane
Breeder Northern Farm
Wins / Starts in 2023 2 / 6
Earnings in 2023 563,053,000 Yen
Principal Wins in 2023 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1)

Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1 - English) play

Best Three-Year-Old Filly:

Liberty Island (JPN)

3-Year-Old, Bay, Filly
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Yankee Rose (All American)
Owner Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.
Trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida
Jockey Yuga Kawada
Breeder Northern Racing
Wins / Starts in 2023 3 / 4
Earnings in 2023 659,008,000 Yen
Principal Wins in 2023 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1)
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1)
Shuka Sho (G1)

Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1 - English) play
Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1 - English) play
Shuka Sho (G1 - English) play

Best Older Filly or Mare and Best Miler:

Songline (JPN)

5-Year-Old, Brown, Mare
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Luminous Parade (Symboli Kris S)
Owner Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.
Trainer Toru Hayashi
Jockey Keita Tosaki
Breeder Northern Farm
Wins / Starts in 2023 2 / 5
(Overseas 0/2)
Earnings in 2023 352,421,800 Yen
(Overseas 7,911,800 Yen)
Principal Wins in 2023 Victoria Mile (G1)
Yasuda Kinen (G1)

Victoria Mile (G1-English) play
Yasuda Kinen (G1-English) play

Best Sprinter:

Mama Cocha (JPN)

4-Year-Old, Bay, Filly
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Buchiko (King Kamehameha)
Owner Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co. Ltd.
Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee
Jockey Yuga Kawada
Breeder Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
Wins / Starts in 2023 2 / 5
Earnings in 2023 223,671,000 Yen
Principal Wins in 2023 Sprinters Stakes (G1)

Sprinters Stakes (G1-English) play

Best Dirt Horse:

Lemon Pop (USA)

5-Year-Old, Chestnut, Horse
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Lemon Drop Kid
Unreachable (Giant's Causeway)
Owner Godolphin
Trainer Hiroyasu Tanaka
Jockey Ryusei Sakai
Breeder Mr. & Mrs. Oliver S. Tait
Wins / Starts in 2023 4 / 5
(Overseas 0/1, NAR 1 / 1)
Earnings in 2023 357,287,000 Yen
(NAR 70,000,000 Yen)
Principal Wins in 2023 February Stakes (G1)
Mile Championship Nambu Hai
Champions Cup (G1)

February Stakes (G1-English) play
Champions Cup (G1-English) play

Best Steeplechase Horse:

Meiner Grand (JPN)

5-Year-Old, Brown, Horse
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Gold Ship
Meine Nouvelle (Brian's Time)
Owner Thoroughbred Club Ruffian Co. Ltd.
Trainer Takafumi Aoki
Jockey Shinichi Ishigami
Breeder Big Red Farm
Wins / Starts in 2023 4 / 4
Earnings in 2023 134,847,000 Yen
Principal Wins in 2023 Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1)

Nakayama Daishogai (J-G1) play

Special Award:

Ushba Tesoro (JPN)

6-Year-Old, Bay, Horse
Dam (Sire of Dam)
Millefeui Attach (King Kamehameha)
Owner Ryotokuji Kenji Holdings Co. Ltd.
Trainer Noboru Takagi
Jockey Yuga Kawada
Breeder Chiyoda Farm Shizunai
Wins / Starts in 2023 4 / 5
(Overseas 1/2, NAR 3/3)
Earnings in 2023 1,161,515,800 Yen
(Overseas 941,515,800 Yen,
NAR 220,000,000 Yen)
Principal Wins in 2023 Kawasaki Kinen
Dubai World Cup
Tokyo Daishoten (G1)


*Best Trainer (races won): Haruki Sugiyama (56 wins)
*Best Trainer (winning average): Tetsuya Kimura (0.209)
*Best Trainer (money earned): Yoshito Yahagi (2,732,768,100 Yen)
*Best Trainer (training technique): Tetsuya Kimura

JRA Best Jockey (races won): Christophe Lemaire (165 wins)
JRA Best Jockey (winning average): Yuga Kawada (0.305)
JRA Best Jockey (money earned): Christophe Lemaire (5,084,761,000 Yen)
**MVJ (Most Valuable Jockey): Kohei Matsuyama (47 points)
Best Steeplechase Jockey: Shinichi Ishigami
Best Jockey (newcomer): Kanta Taguchi

*Trainers’ figures include National Association of Racing (NAR; Racing by Local Governments) and overseas race results.
**The MVJ is determined by points allotted a jockey for his or her ranking in four different categories for designated JRA, NAR and overseas races. The four categories are “number of wins,” “win average,” “earnings,” and “number of rides for the year.” The MVJ award is bestowed upon the jockey with the highest total points.


■JRA Equine Cultural Award

Winning work
Epitaph - The Light Trail of Yururi

Award Recipient
Atsushi Okada

Recipient Profile
Born in Hokkaido, photographer Atsushi Okada graduated from the Osaka University of Arts and obtained a doctoral degree in fine arts from Tokyo Polytechnic University Graduate School of Arts. Okada has been recognized with several awards, including the renowned 2007 Kimura Ihei Award (He received it in 2008), which is known as the "Akutagawa Prize of the photography world". Okada is also the author of many books and has hosted numerous exhibitions.

Overview of winning work
Drawn to the charm of Yururi Island, presently an uninhabited island off the coast of the Nemuro Peninsula, Okada was determined to preserve the memory of the island’s horses, left behind on the island and now disappearing. The work approaches the phantom-like island in a unique manner with Okada’s collection of dreamy, fantastical photographs taken from various angles.

Reason for recognition
The work wins acclaim due to the Okada’s candid conversations with the local people of their time with the horses, the photographs that come together like a poem, and the author’s enthusiasm and sincere approach in endeavoring to preserve the memories of the island.

Atsushi Okada  


Results of the 2023 JRA Awards (Total Votes: 295)

Horse of the Year
Place Horse Votes
1 Equinox 293
2 Liberty Island 2
Total   295

Best Two-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Jantar Mantar 288
2 Forever Young 7
Total   295

Best Two-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Ascoli Piceno 163
2 Regaleira 132
Total   295

Best Three-Year-Old Colt
Place Horse Votes
1 Tastiera 260
2 Durezza 28
3 Sol Oriens 5
4 Champagne Color 1
4 Derma Sotogake 1
Total 295

Best Three-Year-Old Filly
Place Horse Votes
1 Liberty Island 294
2 Brede Weg 1
Total   295

Best Older Colt or Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Equinox 294
2 Do Deuce 1
Total   295

Best Older Filly or Mare
Place Horse Votes
1 Songline 275
2 Stars on Earth 11
3 Namur 4
4 Icon Tailor 2
4 Through Seven Seas 2
6 None 1
Total   295

Best Sprinter
Place Horse Votes
1 Mama Cocha 226
2 None 43
3 First Force 21
4 Namura Clair 4
5 Remake 1
Total   295

Best Miler
Place Horse Votes
1 Songline 275
2 Namur 11
3 Liberty Island 5
4 Lemon Pop 3
5 Champagne Color 1
Total   295

Best Dirt Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Lemon Pop 166
2 Ushba Tesoro 126
3 Icon Tailor 1
3 Derma Sotogake 1
3 Meisho Hario 1
Total   295

Best Steeplechase Horse
Place Horse Votes
1 Meiner Grand 279
2 Irogotoshi 15
3 None 1
Total   295